QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
QUESTION: Thank you. This is for Mr. Anderson. Mr. Anderson, you compared Iraq to Kosovo and you said that the United States government has vital interests in Iraq but not in Kosovo. Yet, when you compare the two leaders in that part of the world -- Saddam Hussein with Milosevic -- Milosevic has killed, or in my mind he’s a war criminal and he’s probably ordered the deaths of tens if not hundreds of thousands of Kosovar Albanians, Bosnians, Muslims, basically non-Serbs in Bosnia and in Croatia before that.
Why is it that you are advocating that we have no interest in this part of the world and that we shouldn’t really pay too much attention to this part of the world but at the same time the Heritage Foundation advocates funding anti-Saddam Hussein groups? I mean, how can you make that comparison? Why are we not also advocating that we fund groups to militarily overthrow Milosevic?
JAMES ANDERSON: Thank you for your question. I did in my remarks try to make clear that I wasn’t arguing we have no interest in the Balkans or even no humanitarian interests in the Balkans. But we surely do. But my argument is that those have to be considered in conjunction with our strategic interests. And the comparison -- I mean, these are both very bad people -- Milosevic and Saddam Hussein -- but nevertheless there are differences in terms of geography, which are of note.
Iraq is located in the Middle East where we get a lot of resources and our allies do, too. Iraq has a track record of trying to digest sovereign nations, has a track record of using poison gas on its own people. Iraq has a track record of pursuing and developing weapons of mass destruction -- biological, chemical, and even nuclear.
So there are clearly some differences here, and it is worthwhile – I think it is in our interests in both cases to do what we can do to oust these leaders from power. And in the case of Iraq, one thing we can do is to do a better job in supporting the armed resistance movement, as fragmented as they may be now. It’s a long-term effort.
In the case of Milosevic, I think we would all profit if he were replaced by a more moderate regime. I just happen to think there are different ways of going about that end in the case of moving toward his ouster.
THOMAS BUERGENTHAL: Yes, sir.
QUESTION: Thank you. Did you say we were limited to just one or two sentences? I’d just like to go over some notes I made during the speeches and address it to anyone on the panel who chooses to address it. I’d like to specifically thank Jim Anderson for his comments that I felt directly related to American in this whole matter. My first question would be addressed to the audience here tonight. I’d like to see a show of hands. How many of you would be anxious or willing to send you sons or daughters to die for good ol’Kosovo? One? All right.
JOHN LAMPE: We’re reminded that in the democratic process, referendums are questionable because of the way the question is phrased.
QUESTION: I would suggest that there are some of us who have been in uniform and have sons and daughters in uniform who see exactly the opposite. I don’t know how many of the folks here tonight actually have folks in uniform but I’d like to offer the opposite viewpoint.
Second, this so-called national conference --
JAMES HOOPER: Sir, we do we have a volunteer army, I believe.
QUESTION: Well, there’s volunteers --
JAMES HOOPER: When you sign up to a volunteer army, you take the risks and responsibilities --
QUESTION: I would say that volunteer army goes something like when you raise your right hand to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, not the United Nations, the Security Council, or its charter, or any country outside the United States, and when you look at the 10,000-man shortage that the Army is facing today, a good part of that has to do with folks who are doing things whether it’s up tempo or other matters that don’t have to do with defending their country.
I hear the term “American conscience” or “national conscience,” and I think of a different approach from what has been implied. I think of 57,000 names, or roughly that, on the Vietnam wall, and their message to me is very loud and clear, and it says to me, “Those were Americans, and they’re saying, ‘Never again.’” Unless we know exactly --
HYMAN BOOKBINDER: Could you concretize a very specific question, please? Or do you feel you’ve made your point? If you have, we’ll go on to the next one.
QUESTION: I have several others which I was going to address. I guess the best way to encapsulate it from my notes would be -- considering we have no clear-cut military goals, no national security interests: this is a civil war, which is unconstitutional in my opinion, and many others, such as Henry Kissinger, by Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, the War Powers Act, where it gives Congress the power to declare and grant letters of going back to the 18th century for the full-scale military operations.
HYMAN BOOKBINDER: Thank you very much. Thank you.
QUESTION: May I finish my question?
HYMAN BOOKBINDER: Yes.
QUESTION: Is this a free country, or --
HYMAN BOOKBINDER: It’s a very free country and there are 200 people waiting to ask questions. Ask a direct question, would you please?
QUESTION: I get your message. I guess my question would be how many lives do you have to use to keep a Christmas promise that was given 10 years ago. Thank you for your --
HYMAN BOOKBINDER: Yeah, okay. Next. On that side, please.
QUESTION: I was next. I have a comment and a question. Mr. Lampe, you made several statements regarding the fact that there were some violent acts occurring against the Serbs but that those were mainly against monasteries, churches, or maybe --
JOHN LAMPE: No, I didn’t say that at all.
QUESTION: Tombstones -- something about tombstones and that there weren’t any murder or assaults going on. I was wondering whether you aware that a lot of these things weren’t reported, because the Tito government between 1968 and later on did not want for the minorities to be divisive among themselves and that many of the reports of what happened to Serbs there never made it to the West.
Between 1968 and 1998, 200,000 Serbs were forced to leave Kosovo because of terrorism on the part of the KLA. In 1982, The New York Times reported this on several occasions in the year, but at that time there was no war, so people were ignoring it.
And I also wanted to direct comments to Mr. Bookbinder, who I believe said that KLA disarmament is not desirable. I was wondering whether you are aware that there is credible evidence that the KLA is a terrorist organization that is funded by narcotics trafficking, that in 1996 the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration had credible evidence that 45 percent of the drug trafficking of heroin in the world came from the KLA in Kosova, and I’d like you to address those questions.
JOHN LAMPE: Let me just knock those off quickly. Forty-five percent -- that’s the highest I’ve heard yet. No, seriously, these are Serbian claims. The departure is not 200,000, but 100,000. A survey actually conducted by the Serbian Academy of Sciences that tried to avoid its temptation of bias did show that these lesser harassments that I mentioned were involved in the retrospective decision of people to leave, but to say that was the sole factor or that it was decisive in maybe a majority of the cases, that’s a close call.
And as for the origins and the activity of the KLA, I think that the comments that have been made about their candidacy for some kind of legitimate status would indeed, fairly to the Serbian side, require some very careful scrutiny of the individuals involved, an operation of theirs that would continue to be inside Kosovo and not connected internationally. Perhaps that could be done and that would be of some value. Rapes and murders -- believe me, there have been independent investigations in Yugoslavia, and the evidence of that mass terrorism against the Serbs -- it isn’t there, but the perception perhaps is.
HYMAN BOOKBINDER: All right, let’s take it there.
QUESTION: I quite agree with the distinguished analyst that Kosova is a small part of the Balkans and maybe no one in this -- a small part of the population in the United States would recognize Kosova, but let me remind you that by the turn of this century that is, Kosova has been one of the main cornerstones of the Albanian state and independence, and I’ll come to the question.
This is for Mr. Anderson. If U.S. is not to be grounded in Kosova, does it mean that the United States ought to terminate or -- what are they going to do with their commitment in Macedonia and Bosnia?
Second is if this is to be a European affair and responsibility – I mean, Kosova -- is this because Kosova is not known very well in the United States compared to Macedonia, Bosnia, or Montenegro?
And I have a somewhat weird question. If World War III, God forbid, broke out, is Yugoslavia -- the Third Reich of Yugoslavia to be in the map of the Balkans? And I will close.
JAMES ANDERSON: Let me address the question as U.S. troops in the region – you know, we are committed. We have been committed since the Fall of 1995 and in Bosnia three and a half years. I think the best thing that should happen here is the United States ought to think of some perhaps creative ways to give our European allies some leeway to exercise some leadership over problems that are, in their view, certainly in their back yard, of greater interest to their security than certainly to ours. And that’s why I was trying to suggest earlier that we can still be a key player of the trans-Atlantic alliance.
We can even be first among equals. But at certain times and places to bear the onus of peacekeeping operations, we should not, you know, feel like we’re going to lose our place at the table if in fact we encourage our friends in London and Berlin and Paris to take the lead.
We are committed also in Macedonia. I happen to think that deployment, limited as it is has been probably a useful effort of preventive diplomacy and a deterrent in a large sense to Milosevic entertaining any ideas of at least overt aggression against Macedonia.
But, in considering the question of, again, Kosovo, you have to consider if NATO, if the United States is willing to commit itself to perhaps a whole series of protectorates, and they’re in the region.
For example -- now, if we go big, a 30,000 strong NATO force is sent into Kosovo, what is to prevent Milosevic from opening yet another front, perhaps Montenegro or elsewhere in the region? The argument at some point in terms of containing the violence, it sort of loses its -- or, deploying troops in order to contain the violence loses its force as long as it doesn’t seem to be working.
Again, one of the primary U.S. rationales for deploying in Bosnia was to prevent the conflict from spreading. Well, here we are. The conflict has spread. And I simply raise the question -- it may not be the case that the best way to contain further violence from spreading is in fact to make another huge NATO deployment in the province of Kosovo.
THOMAS BUERGENTHAL: If any of the other panelists want to come in --
Yes, if I could add something to that. A couple of things, Jim, with respect. The what’s called the extraction force in Macedonia, which is largely a Franco-British operation -- it’s about 2,000 troops -- in my view reflects exactly the problem with the Europeans. It is a hollow force. This is an open secret in NATO.
NATO has had to identify a separate force of about 8,000 troops in order to come in and rescue them. This force does not have the capability to carry out its mandate. But this was set up by the Europeans because they wanted to project that they could actually handle their responsibility. It is a phony. Believe me, it is.
Secondly, on the bigger issue, if you look back at the 20th century, one of the -- the biggest question perhaps, a lesson that I’ve learned in the political military area -- the security area, you could say -- is that the Europeans aren’t capable of managing Europe’s own security problems without United States leadership when -- and I think the evidence of that is World War I, World War II -- and then in the Cold War when the United States -- the other part of the lesson is that the United States tends to stay out of these conflicts and that worsens the situation and increases the price we have to pay later.
I think we learned a lesson in the Cold War -- we got it right -- that the only way to solve this dilemma is for the United States to exercise leadership and for the Europeans to work with us, and that’s what the alliance is about. But the alliance really is all about American leadership. If we’re not prepared to play that role, it is going to fundamentally change the nature of the relationship, and I think we’re going to have a series of security problems develop because the Europeans cannot handle these problems themselves, period.
JANUSZ BUGAJSKI: Somebody asked about the KLA and the drug trade and so on. One of the big problems in the Balkans is international organized crime, whether it’s drugs, whether its refugees, people, whether it’s prostitution, whether -- and all sorts of groups and governments are involved, including the Albanian government, including the Serbian government.
As far as the KLA, of course, they benefit from this, but most of their funds come from the diaspora, which, again, is very large, particularly in Switzerland and Germany. Most of the weapons recently -- the more -- the better weapons I gather they actually bought from the Serbian army. Yugoslav forces -- they have the money. The poor Serbs sell. You know, this is the Balkans. The same thing happened in Bosnia I remember. They were selling weapons one day, fighting the next.
The KLA is a very complex structure. This is not a centralized force with an ideologically driven leadership. This initially started up as self-defense forces with some form of Yugoslav offices coming in.
It’s beginning to develop in a more centralized army, but it’s going to take time and there are some unsavory elements there, just as any in the process of information, just as there was in Bosnia at the beginning of war. But armies are formed in war, and that’s, I believe, the fate of the KLA. Thanks.
JOHN LAMPE: Well, I would just second that when we think of the Bosnian war -- in fact, there was indeed that cleaning out and others that carried out rather quickly. It may be harder here.
But just to emphasize that the Kosovo problem was around before the Bosnian war, and despite the fact that these are two Muslim groups, there isn’t a connection between Kosovo and Bosnia as one might imagine, that indeed the democratic forces that, struggling as they are to come to the fore in Serbia, and as they have to some extent in Montenegro, would benefit from the NATO and American presence in Kosovo, taking Kosovo in a way off the table as Janusz was suggesting. It’s a gamble, but anything’s a risk.
QUESTION: My question is for Mr. Lampe or anyone else who would like to comment. Last week, a diplomatic representative for the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia spoke on TV, and according to his words Kosovo is, for the Serbs, the same as Jerusalem is for the Jews. I’m curious -- what does it really mean? What are the basic connotations of the Kosovo/Jerusalem analogy? And also are there any symbolic or historic roles for the Albanian nation?
JOHN LAMPE: Well, this issue of Kosovo dating back to the medieval kingdom and the defeat in Kosovo 1389 is raised and was preserved in Serbian oral folk culture of very strongly, very powerfully -- throughout, but I think in a large measure of the Serbian population today, their survival, their integrity as Europeans, has so badly been damaged, taken down from where it was that the way back to that kind of connection I think means more than any of the attachment beyond, of course, the church locations that cover the territory.
Bishop Artemia was here recently. Those were Serbian religious sites and churches in Kosovo and it’s just every place. That’s really there, but with a NATO force on the ground, the kind of securing and respect for those sites could, I think, be secured as indeed they were respected for almost all of the time that the Kosovar Albanians and Serbs have been on that territory. It’s only very recently that there’s been any damage or disrespect to those religious sites. So, again, it is an issue but best addressed with an international force on the ground.
QUESTION: Thank you. Good evening. I just want to thank the panel, because I think they brought up some points that really highlight how difficult the situation is, and like many people in the United States, I don’t think I’m fully aware of all the background.
Just kind of an interesting thing on the way in tonight going through the Metro, when you go past the newspaper machines, you look at the headlines of the papers that are there, you had about four of the newspapers that showed pictures from Kosova and from Bosnia of refugees and signs of really the difficult situation there. It kind of pulls your heartstrings and makes you want to learn more about it. And then one paper had a picture from Bosnia of a young army soldier who is there as peacekeeper. And that kind of makes you wonder, you know, how we look at this as a country is really the sole remaining superpower.
How we justify putting our soldiers on the ground there -- clearly we do have some interest there but there are some really difficult situations. You need to balance that. I’d like to address my question to the --
JAMES HOOPER: Could I just add quickly to that, that I think the – my understanding is that, not in any tendentious response or anything, but just to amplify what you said -- I think it’s a good point -- that a number of our soldiers that have served in Bosnia I think have derived a lot of satisfaction from that. They’ve felt they’ve actually contributed something.
It’s a lot more satisfying than doing push-ups and drills and so forth at Fort Bragg and some of these other places around the U.S. That’s, frankly, boring. They’re actually getting somewhere and contributing something in Bosnia. A lot of them feel that, and they feel very proud of that. I think they feel that their country feels proud of them.
QUESTION: Mr. Hooper, that’s an interesting point, and I would just say that to a certain extent I think that’s correct for a lot of people I talk to in the military that have been there, and some people on repeated tours. You can never forget what the United States military’s ultimate mission, and that’s to fight and win wars. And when you’re keeping the peace, that’s obviously a decision that the national command authority makes, but it kind of dulls your training, dulls your warrior’s edge, so that’s something that really needs to be considered when you do something like that.
A couple of things that came up that I hope that the final three presenters can maybe address a little more. The issue came up that like it or not NATO has become Europe’s police force. And also the question of credibility and the fact that the Balkans are now the new Berlin. And I just wonder how we look at that and weigh our vital national security interests when we’re stretched thin militarily, economically, and how we do that as a nation and how we should set up policy to convince people in the United States that we do have a vital national security interest there when really some people would say it’s a terrible situation.
We need to do something, but I don’t know if putting troops on the ground is the correct thing.
JOHN LAMPE: If I may, you raise so many good points. Let me try to respond to just a couple of them. On the issue of U.S. peacekeepers in Bosnia, in fact no doubt some of them certainly derive a certain amount of satisfaction from what they’re doing there, but it’s also true statistically that reenlistment rates of U.S. Army soldiers there are down – those that serve in Bosnia.
Now, on the issue of -- you raise the issue of peacekeeping versus war fighting skills. I think it should be emphasized that the longer and more the United States gets involved in peacekeeping operations, that does in fact dull our combat edge because combat skills and training and fighting and preparing for high-intensity conventional conflict --those are highly perishable skills.
If you send a unit, as we have been sending units to Bosnia, or if we end up sending them to Kosovo for six months or nine months, that necessarily diminishes our ability to respond elsewhere. It’s not as though you could simply extract them and put them immediately into defending South Korea or Kuwait or something like that. They would need to be retrained. That is a cost that needs to be considered.
Finally, regarding the point of the Balkans becoming the new Berlin, I think this is a little bit peculiar, to say the least. To an extent, I think the problem we’re in now is that this interest – the political credibility factor of NATO has in fact been created. I mean, it’s not there gone so far and is not even backed up. I mean, on this point I would agree with some of my fellow panelists. These empty threats over time really do a disservice to what can and should be done in the region.
HYMAN BOOKBINDER: If we all cooperate, if the questions are short, the answers are short, we’ll try to take all of you who are now standing and still get out by 9 o’clock. Nobody else please join the lines after this because it will be impossible. Okay? But there are now about six or seven, so let’s make the questions and answers as short as possible. I will get you all in. Yes, sir.
QUESTION: This is for whoever wants to tackle it. Would you comment on the likelihood of Greece and Turkey being drawn into this conflict?
JAMES HOOPER: If Macedonia – if the war spreads to Macedonia -- if this war continues, I think it is likely to spread to Macedonia. If Macedonia begins to fragment, then what you have are its neighboring states. So I think they’ve actually – have acted pretty reasonably.
Several of them have historical territorial claims, which they do not assert, but if they began to worry that Macedonia was fragmented between its –it has about a 30 percent population of ethnic-Albanians. They might decide to intervene in order to protect those claims or to prevent others from asserting those claims.
It can very quickly spiral out of control, and that’s when, particularly if Greece assets its territorial claims to Macedonia and to Albania, we then get Turkey involved. I think it can very quickly happen that way. That is the end of NATO if two of its – if it’s on it’s southern tier and two of its allies go to war.
JANUSZ BUGAJSKI: If I could just add, it’s not all bad news from the Balkans. Some of the governments there are behaving very responsibly. Just yesterday Bulgaria and Macedonia initialed -- the two prime ministers initialed an agreement for mutual cooperation, ending this dispute over language, which paves the way really for building a security structure in the Balkans outside at the moment of the Serbian space, if you like, of Serbia, Yugoslavia.
Serbia itself I think will have to be drawn into this process. I suggest, as the council probably -- of course there is a problem that the war could spread, but I think that there are also positive indicators that there are responsive governments if we nurture the democracy-free market and so on and a viable security system, that this, too, could embroil and involve the Balkans and wide European security network. So, we wouldn’t have the need for -- let’s not exaggerate -- 4,000 American troops on the ground in Kosovo in the future.
QUESTION: My name is [indecipherable]. I was born in Kosova. I just had a question for Janusz Bugajski. Mr. Bugajski, do you think that Albanians will have a fair share after three years, after this agreement is reached between Serbs and Albanians?
And I just want to specify one more thing, that two years ago my mother had a stroke. Right now I am a U.S. citizen. I went back to Yugoslavia and I had all this fear in my soul, you know, that something is going to happen to me, and right here I’m standing in front of you. I don’t have that fear, you know, and it’s really -- it really feels great to not have to feel that you’re going to maybe just turn around in here and get, you know, executed or, you know -- God knows what can happen to you.
I’ve lost two of my cousins in this war, and my best friend was a Serb. I grew up with him as a child, and I thought that never something would come between me and him, and when I saw him three years ago I just knew that -- you know, I invited him for dinner or whatever it was, you know.
It’s just that I knew that this was all over and all our dreams were just, you know, gone away, you know. I just wanted to say, do you really believe that Albanians will have a fair share, you know, under this Adolph Hitler regime -- I can put it out this way. Thank you very much.
JANUSZ BUGAJSKI: Thank you very much. Under the Milosevic regime they won’t have a fair shake. But I think under a NATO-type protectorate during this three-year period, with intensive involvement by organizations, such as OSCE, lawyers’ organizations, and so on, I think the Albanians will probably have more than a fair shake, certainly more than anybody would have expected a year ago.
But personally, again, I think it’s a stepping-stone toward eventual independence. I don’t see -- if Kosovo were to become a democratic free state, what would happen? All the Serbs would have to move to Kosovo because Serbia itself is not a democratic free state, so the disconnect between this region and Serbia I think will grow in the next three years, unless there’s a major revolution in Belgrade, which I cannot foresee at the moment.
QUESTION: I have a question about the demonstration effect, and it’s primarily aimed toward Dr. Bugajski and Dr. Anderson because both of you mentioned the possibility of down the road granting autonomy -- well, actually independence to Kosovo, and obviously historically we as the U.S. government now have approached issues of sovereignty and succession, or rather succession and recognition of sovereignty on a case-by-case basis.
But I’m a little bit concerned what the implications would be for, first of all, the rest of Serbia -- because obviously the precedent for granting and taking away autonomy for Kosovo also involves Vojvodina, and the Hungarians have been quite vocal recently and are trying to pull in the Hungarian government to be more aggressive on their behalf.
Secondly, and more importantly for the U.S., the question of Bosnia is of course -- we’ve heard different voices coming out of Sarajevo. It’s playing into the internal struggle within the IRS. Thank you. If you can just address those two issues.
JANUSZ BUGAJSKI: Yes, if I could just very briefly -- Vojvodina it was the other province that lost its autonomy under Milosevic. The demographic situation, however, is very different to Kosovo. In Kosovo you have over 90 percent, 92 -- by some estimates of the population of Albania. In Vojvodina, particularly since the fleeing of Serbs from Bosnia and Croatia, the overall majority are Serbs, many of whom do not support Milosevic.
The Hungarian population has been declining. It’s confined to the north. It’s been declining over the past 10 years. They’ve actually participated in the federal government structures and compared to the fate of the Albanians or even some of the Muslims, they --let’s put it this way -- it’s a repressive state but they haven’t borne the brunt, if you like, of Milosevic’s anti-minority campaign.
Let me just say very quickly about the potential breakup of Bosnia. If anything, Milosevic [indecipherable]. That’s why people -- refugees from Bosnia, Croatia do not vote in Serbia.
Secondly, I think Serbia itself is splitting into two -- the west side and the east side. The question is I don’t know if there were to be a referendum tomorrow how many would actually want to join greater Serbia.
So, I mean, it’s just sort of some notes on your question. But I don’t think -- let’s put it lastly -- I don’t think necessarily the independence of Kosovo going to be stabilizing region. Particularly if you look at my paper, I just outlined very briefly -- if you stabilize Macedonia, if you give Montenegro a stake in the region, if you create a more law-abiding state -- if, you like, central government control in Albania -- I think you’ve got a long way to solving the potential Albanian question.
At the same time, Bosnia has a NATO mission at the moment. I don’t imagine that there would be any conflict at this point against NATO troops. There hasn’t been a single casualty in Bosnia from hostile fire, to my knowledge.
JAMES ANDERSON: I think the question is an excellent one in many ways. It is always useful to think about the demonstration effect and what -- in terms of recognition of potentially -- of state as states or changing a status from a province to a republic or to a state. It’s always important to think through how that may play elsewhere in the world or in the region.
I think in the case -- I would agree with a lot of what has just been said in terms of stability -- Balkan stability. Now, I think that if we want to continue this sort of simmering, festering, low-level conflict, probably the best way to do that is to take away at least, at the end of the day, the possibility of independence for Kosovo.
Now, I think, as I mentioned earlier, there ought to be -- and there should be -- a price from the ethnic-Albanians for that and to include guaranteeing the sites of all the religious sites that we saw, and also the Serbian minority. It’s a question not so much of changing borders but, I think, redefining them. And I do think that this is something, you know, that the international community -- as it is in the United States, they’re going to have to revisit the issue at the appropriate time of independence by law because it is happening de facto.
And briefly, for the Republic of Serbia-- I think that is a fundamentally different situation since that was created legally by the Dayton Accords in 1995, so I don’t see the two as exactly -- as being analogous.
HYMAN BOOKBINDER: Permit me now to wind up this whole evening by doing the following. Please cooperate with me. Would each of the three of you ask your question or make your brief comment? I want all the four panelists to listen carefully to these last three questions, and after you’ve asked your questions as a group we will ask each of the panelists to respond to you and to make their final comment, the last comment that they’d like for you to remember as you leave the room, okay? Let’s start.
QUESTION: I have a question for any member of the panel. What is the initial number of American troops that you are recommending we send to Kosova? If that initial troop commitment is insufficient, what would be the total number of American troops that you would be willing to commit to Kosova and for how long?
QUESTION: My question is directed specifically at Mr. Hooper, who said that the Albanians should first earn independence before having it bestowed upon them, and I would like to know why it is that 2,000 slaughtered, a quarter of a million of the citizenry on the run, plus 10 years of repression is not sufficient enough -- several times over perhaps -- to have already attained independence.
QUESTION: My question is especially for Mr. Hooper. You mentioned escalation of the conflict that took place last year. Can you elaborate on some reasons for why an intervention didn’t take place at that time? Thank you.
JAMES HOOPER: The number of American troops that I would recommend for Kosovo -- that was the first question, I think, would be 8,000 to 10,000. I think the United States should maintain the leadership of this force.
Secondly, why should the Albanians - why should the Kosovo Albanians have to earn their independence? I don’t think repression is enough of a reason for independence. That is, as I said, what we need is a democratic state there that is an exporter of stability, not another police state, and my concern is that they should have to prove that, and I think they can. But they have to prove their commitment to democracy and to their ability to export stability there. The last thing we need is another police state or a destabilizing state in the region. It just will be a disaster.
Third, why did the U.S. not act a year ago when the first attack took place? I think the purpose of U.S. policy was to avoid responsibility, and we convened the contact group, the six-nation group. This was created during Bosnia. It was created as an institutional alibi for Western inaction, and whenever we use it, it’s really for fulfilling that purpose. If we want to act, we act ourselves just with the allies; we don’t really act with the contact group. So, you know that you’re serious when you see it differently.
My final comment is that there’s an awful lot riding on the outcome of these negotiations, and if anyone has any ideas on what they can do to help this dialog underway in Kosovo for the next two weeks, to get some support for a positive answer I think that will help the moderates in Kosovo and the moderates within the KLA, I encourage you to get involved. I think we need all the moderates and the help we can get in the next two weeks on this issue.
JANUSZ BUGAJSKI: Two brief comments -- I’ve just been scribbling something down. Two last comments, let’s put it this way. I think that without an independent and democratic Kosovo, both the greatest Serbian and greater Albanian problems will simply not be resolved in the region. With an independent Kosovo I think there’s much more of a chance.
Secondly -- let’s put it this way -- when you have criminals and war criminals wandering around the region, most of them are very well armed, supported by governments, backing all sorts of international organized crime syndicates, potentially destabilizing various parts of Europe -- as I said incipiently, you need a policeman, preferably an armed policeman, and the only policemen I can see on the horizon, the only organization, whether some like it or not, that is being transformed from a Cold War conventional war force to a really low intensity peacekeeping protection force -- not all its elements, but certain I think important components of NATO -- then I think the only alternative is for NATO to try and keep the peace in the region.
Thirdly, this gives confidence to all the neighboring countries. Most of the countries of Eastern Europe aspire to be part of NATO not because they want to have troops on their soil but because they want to feel secure. And I think that tells you something about the impact of NATO.
JAMES ANDERSON: A couple of quick points regarding the question about recommending U.S. troops in Kosovo as part of this. As you can probably guess by now, I do not favor a large number. I think if we were to support a long alliance as I described in my remarks, you know, intelligence communication assets, we could certainly assist our NATO allies at a very low level of troops, much lower than the 4,000 being proposed, which, by the way, should be considered to be much larger than 4,000, because if you put 4,000 troops in Kosovo, you need another 4,000 training, preparing to relieve them, and when the 4,000 come out they have to be retrained. So, in effect, the 4,000 ties up an entire division’s worth of U.S. military assets.
As for final thoughts tonight, I do not have a crystal ball, and I cannot tell you when and where the next time the United States will find its vital national security interests challenged on the battlefield, but I can tell you, and I can assure you, that that day will come in the future, and if it is the case that the United States and its NATO allies are committed to a series of open-ended protectorates in the Balkans, we will suffer and we will pay a price and we will pay a price both in blood and treasure.
JOHN LAMPE: Let me conclude by, first, briefly seconding Jim Hooper’s point on moderates. Please -- will the moderates please stand up in both Serbia and on the Kosovar Albanian side.
On the Kosovar Albanian side, I must say that the credentials so far do not compare to the Bosnian Muslim leaders and individuals that we worked with, that we saw committed only to a multi-ethnic Bosnia with perhaps some exceptions, but that was overall the thrust -- there was not a military preparation. They were caught without sufficient military preparation.
That’s very different than the KLA as it’s now constituted. That could change. Let’s hope that it does because moderates need to come forward to there to have those credentials that I think do need to be established. I think some earning, if there’s going to be any independent Kosovo, really has to be established, and if there could be some kind of republic inside a democratic Yugoslavia, there wouldn’t be anything wrong with that either.
But NATO’s role -- let’s finish with that -- NATO’s role in this region -- if you include Romania, as one should, in Southeastern Europe, that’s 72 million people. That’s a huge part of this European continent that stands in the way of that continent’s connection to the Mid-East, stands as a way of connecting with destabilized areas in the former Soviet Union, and it’s very clear to a number of us that Southeastern Europe is going to succeed together in the next five or ten years, or they’re going to go down together – all down -- Greece, Turkey -- even if there isn’t warfare.
Hear this well, because this is the overriding national interest of the United States, in that whole region. If NATO and Europe as a continent are going to continue to be the most important single location in the world, and NATO is the one European organization in which the United States is a member, then in this focal point, now, of Kosovo, I very strongly believe that we have to make that commitment not just to those Kosovars of Albanian and Serb extraction that I spoke of at the start, but to all the people of the former Yugoslavia and, indeed, the entire region and to our European allies. They and we are going to make it together there or we’re going to be in a sorry and regretful situation as the area explodes and spreads trouble rather then becoming the bridge that needs to be. Thank you.
HYMAN BOOKBINDER: My wristwatch tells me it’s two minutes to nine. How do you like that? You will be out by nine, but permit me to do two small things before I ask for your loud applause of appreciation for our very distinguished panel.
First -- I should have done this at the beginning, but let me now publicly thank two staff members of this Holocaust Museum who did so much to make this evening possible. Paul Shapiro, will you please raise your hand? Thank you. And is Christy here? Thank you very, very much.
Secondly, a brief, perhaps obvious but necessary observation -- this panel discussion we heard would have been interesting, informative, and crucial no matter where it took place in this city or this country.
But I want to remind you, lest you forget -- I don’t think you will -- it’s taking place in this building, in this museum as a reminder to us -- it should be a reminder to us -- the context in which this meeting was put together. This is not just for us, a general geo-political discussion of international tensions or rivalries. We come to this because the kind of rivalries and tensions we’ve been talking about have too often led to terrible, horrible tragedies of millions of innocents being slaughtered, murdered in genocide, in massacres, and we cry out.
We cry out in an attempt to prevent those horrible genocides from ever taking place by resolving as best we can the issues that cause the conflicts. It isn’t easy, but we like to feel that we are making through our work of the Committee on Conscience a contribution to that, and by your presence here in large numbers, it tells us that you share our concern, and for that we thank you and we ask you now to give them a great big laud of thanks.
Committee on Conscience issues statement on action in Kosovo
WASHINGTON, DC — In response to NATO military operations to halt the atrocities in Kosovo, the Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council issued the following statement:
“The Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council condemns the barbaric and genocidal acts perpetrated against civilians in Kosovo and commends the efforts of NATO to stop these crimes against humanity.
The Committee believes that providing safe haven and aid to refugees and preparing for a full moral and legal accounting must also be pursued. History has taught us that in order to be effective, documentation of war crimes and crimes against humanity as well as pursuit of war criminals on all sides should be undertaken immediately.
The Committee is deeply concerned for the security and safety of all innocent people of the region, now and in the future.”
On June 14, 1995, the United States Holocaust Memorial Council voted unanimously to establish a Committee on Conscience. The mandate of the Committee on Conscience, as commended to it by the President’s Commission on the Holocaust and the United States Congress, is “to alert the national conscience, influence policy makers, and stimulate worldwide action to confront and work to halt acts of genocide or related crimes against humanity.”
Committee on Conscience issues statement on indictment of Milosevic
May 27, 1999—In response to the indictment of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and four of his lieutenants by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council issues the following statement:
“The indictment of Slobodan Milosevic and four other Yugoslav leaders by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia heartens all who wonder whether we will exit this century with any grasp of its most terrible lessons. But this most welcome development is only a first step in a process that must not become merely a symbolic gesture. Indictment must be followed by the appropriate legal and judicial steps. The continued failure to apprehend two major figures indicted for crimes in the Bosnian conflict, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, warns against complacency.
If we hope to rouse at least the attention of those who would be bystanders, if not the perpetrators themselves, Karadzic and Mladic must be arrested. There also must be continued, immediate, and highly visible submission of evidence by NATO to the Tribunal, and ongoing aggressive investigation of other people involved in the current conflict in Kosovo for possible indictment.
As we end our murderous century, it is not at all clear that a public standard of legal and moral accountability or a personal understanding of history’s painful lessons can help us overcome our worst impulses and improve our future. But, as the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia recognizes, one thing is clear – the alternative is so terrible, we cannot afford not to try.”
On June 14, 1995, the United States Holocaust Memorial Council voted unanimously to establish a Committee on Conscience. The mandate of the Committee on Conscience, as recommended in the 1979 report of the President’s Commission on the Holocaust, is “to alert the national conscience, influence policy makers, and stimulate worldwide action to confront and work to halt acts of genocide or related crimes against humanity.” The Committee intends to be vigilant about all threats of genocide wherever they may occur.